The use of the InfoFlex Friends and Family Test (FFT) questionnaire at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has led to a dramatic increase in feedback from patients who have attended the Trust’s Emergency Department (ED). Patients can now access the InfoFlex FFT web questionnaire on their mobile devices and this has resulted in a 6 fold increase in responses, from an average of 50 paper-based questionnaires a month to over 300 using the new system.



For patients

• The questionnaire can be completed at leisure


For trusts

•  Administrative time saved by automatic entering of FFT data
•  Higher response figures provide better qualitative data for informing service improvements



Issues Addressed

Barnsley needed to increase the uptake and completion of the NHS questionnaire, the aim of which is to drive improvements across the service, by giving its patients a more readily available and easier to use method than the existing on-site postcard version of the questionnaire. Anonymity had to be ensured. The information gathered needed to feed automatically into the Trust’s existing FFT database (to which transcriptions of the paper FFT are added manually), saving key administration time. Furthermore, higher response rates provide qualitative data about service recommendation that is a more accurate reflection of patient opinion and consequently more valuable for analysis.


Design and Implementation

Terri Milligan, Patient Experience Improvement Manager, described working with InfoFlex as “brilliant, with no problems really and in the main pretty straightforward.”  From InfoFlex’s point of view the design and implementation were relatively simple. The basic questionnaire was easy to produce using InfoFlex’s Patient Questionnaire functionality, which is available to all trusts using InfoFlex.

Following discharge from ED, a patient is sent a text message inviting them to complete the questionnaire. All they then need to do is enter their date of birth and a personal pin number and complete the questionnaire. Once sent and captured by InfoFlex, the responses are pulled across into the Trust’s FFT database in the correct format, ready for analysis.

Terri puts the success of the pilot in the ED down to the fact that coming in to hospital in an emergency situation can be quite stressful. I think when they’re ready to leave patients just want to get home, not be stuck in the department filling in a card. The text message system gives them time to get home, have a think about their experience and then respond.”

Future plans

After its trial in the ED, the Trust plan to roll out the SMS link to other inpatient and outpatient departments. Terri explained: “We’ll keep on-site postcards but once patients are discharged we’ll send the text message. We’ll be able to set a certain timescale for those messages. So for example, with Maternity patients we’d hope to give them a few weeks to settle down at home and to reflect on their experiences before sending the text message.” From April 1st the Trust will be allowed to create a bespoke version of the questionnaire, adding extra questions to the statutory dataset.